10 things I wish I knew when I was 20

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This is an actual blackboard hanging in my house. I have written these 5 points over a period of 24 months, one point at a time as I unwrapped the lessons. I must admit they came during the most difficult trials in my life and maybe that’s why the lessons have stuck so well. I always look forward to my birthday, but also dreaded getting old. I no longer resent old age though, as I have since realized that the older I grow, the more I fall in love with the woman I am becoming. A lot of people have not made it this far, which means I have survived everything life has thrown at me up to this point. Below are the 10 things I would tell to my 20-year old self, being a day away from 30, I needed to reflect and take stock at what life has offered me.

  1. Thank God

I have learnt that in my life I have a lot to be thankful for. No matter how dire my situation may have been, I can bet my life that someone is going through far worse and his or her situation is not about change anytime soon. Counting your blessings one by one each day, brings a sense of hope in one’s soul. Gratitude invites more blessing and being alive is one.

  1. The time is NOW

The best time to start or stop doing something is NOW! The present is the best opportunity to live, to grow and be true to your convictions. Procrastinating on progressive decisions is such an injustice to your destiny. Time and chance may not present themselves as they have today. Seize the moment, the opportunity may never come again.

  1. Honor your decisions

Had I stuck to my resolutions when I made them, I would be living my best life right now. But again, putting things off for another day and basking in the comfort of dysfunction is counter-revolutionary to your growth. So you have figured out that a particular activity/relationship is holding you back. Off all the things that are detrimental to you life, you have narrowed it down to that is “one” thing and you are making a decision to change it. Please stick to that resolution daily. It will not be easy, you will forget sometimes, but as soon as you remember your decision, promise yourself once more. This way you learn to trust yourself and build up your self-esteem.

  1. Speak your Truth

A healthy self-esteem is also built up through the ability of speaking your truth. For the longest time I have been unable to express my true feelings with the fear that it might offend the next person or they might appreciate me less. The result was that I would overly commit myself and let the very same people down, including myself. Speaking your truth is also necessary when you speak to yourself and most importantly to God through your prayers. The Lord delights when we are vulnerable and honest to him, because he already knows whats in our hearts anyway. Communication is the most important ingredient in any relationship, be it professional or personal. Being honest with yourself yields the best reward of all. There is nothing more sad than seeing someone believing their own lies. Stay true!

  1. Learn to say No without explaining yourself

If you can’t do something, you can’t, end of story. You don’t need to be rude or apologetic about it. I am one of those people that wanted to please all and sundry and felt the need to explain my decisions all the time, as though people invested some of the years of their lives in mine and I owe them a time account. It is good to be polite and commit wherever possible, but it should never be at your detriment. I have since discovered that whatever I tried to explain to others, I was trying to justify in my own mind. Which means I’m not sure about the choice that I just made. Those who care about you will understand when you cannot show up because they know of the many times you did. You character is not defined by the ability to please, but the level of integrity you abide by.

  1. The world owes you nothing

Not needing to explain myself helped me learn that I actually do not owe anyone anything. Everything I do or say needs to be meaningful and come from my heart. Anything you do with ingenuity is an inconvenience to yourself and a nuisance to others. Likewise nobody owes you loyalty, love, attention or politeness. All these things are done because people want to, and you need to appreciate every single good deed, because you are not entitled to it. Even God himself owes you absolutely nothing, all you have is by Grace. Receive it as such. Life does not owe you success no matter how good you have been. Yes you reap what you sow, but you don’t do good as an investment, you do it because you want to and only then will it come back to you. Expectations lead to disappointments, have none (or as little as possible).

  1. Low self-esteem is not humility

There’s nothing as dis empowering as fake-humility. I have done that a great deal in my life. Treating myself as an option just to appear humble to people who don’t even need my sacrifice. I mistook thinking lowly of myself as the ultimate expression of humility and little did I know that was exactly how the world would perceive me. Humility continues to be the greatest virtue I aspire to, but I bring self-love along. Pride is not attractive on any basis, in fact its like poisoning your own soul and living in delusion. We are on earth and are all equal, lets live there. Give to yourself the love that you would extend to others, you are just as important.

  1. You are not ready for marriage

Marriage is no joke guys! It takes your whole soul and a bit to make it work with your beloved. You need to constantly work on yourself to be better for your soul mate and for the partnership to work. If I knew this, my twenties would have been the most liberating time of my life. I spent a decent part of them stressing about marriage and when it was finally gonna rain on precious me. It is only now do I realize that I have had quiet a lot to work on personally before I could even fathom of someone else entrusting me with their heart and their dreams.

  1. Being “you” is your Super-power

No one can be Noluthando the way I can be. Not now, not ever. That is my super-power. Only I can execute my destiny, tell my story and color the world in a manner that me can do. Everywhere you go, know that you have decorated the place with your rival and you matter. No one can dispute how you are doing you, because frankly only you know how to.

  1. Jesus saves

Not my moral behavior, sweet words, pretty face or lengthy prayers can save my soul, only Jesus can. I gave my life to the Lord in my second year of university and I continue to surrender it daily. Many Christians and non-christians fall into the trap of being their own saviors and some even say that they need to change their lives before they come to God. I have also tried to clean up own messes, only to create bigger ones. The acknowledgement that there is a power higher than you that can help you rise higher is the beginning of wisdom. If you were your own god, you would be running this world. Gradually understanding and absorbing that Jesus is my savior, has helped absolve myself off condemnation, forgive my own errors and renewed my hope for the future.

Overall, I have learnt to accept that I am a work in progress and will continue to be that for the rest of my life. I just need to remain committed to my own development. At the end of it, things will be okay, they always turn out that way. No situation is permanent, not even your weaknesses or deepest fears. Morning always comes, and when it does, take the lessons into your noonday.

“ You have to relentlessly participate in the manifestation of your own blessings”

 

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